University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura allegedly took the institution’s lecturers to Grace Mugabe’s Mazowe orphanage so she could take oral examinations for her disputed Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, a Harare court heard yesterday.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Nyagura (72) was arrested on Friday for alleged criminal abuse of office for his role in the awarding of the degree to the former first lady.
Harare magistrate Tilda Mazhande was told Nyagura single-handedly accepted the wife of former president Robert Mugabe’s application to study for the PhD without the knowledge of the UZ’s sociology department.
Prosecutor Oscar Madhume said in 2011 Nyagura approved Ntombizodwa G Marufu (Grace’s maiden name) application without the knowledge and recommendations of the departmental board and faculty of higher degrees committee in violation of UZ quality assurance guidelines and benchmark.
He said during the same period, Nyagura appointed Professor Claude Mararike and Professor Chaneta to supervise Grace without the knowledge and approval of the department.
Nyagura is accused of usurping the powers of the UZ senate by single-handedly appointing examiners for Mugabe’s research in violation of the UZ Act chapter 25:16 and Ordinance 1998/99.
Nyagura allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Mugabe’s Mazowe orphanage, where the defence oral examination was purportedly done without the knowledge and approval of the academic committee while in actual fact the examination is supposed to be done at the UZ premises.
The prosecution alleged that during the same year, Nyagura recommended to Mugabe that Grace should be awarded the PhD.
This was allegedly done without the knowledge of the UZ council and academic committee.
The sociology department distanced itself from both the candidate and awarding of the degree as it was done without their knowledge. Prosecutors said Grace did not meet the minimum requirements to study for the degree.
Nyagura, who is represented by advocate Lewis Uriri, pleaded not guilty to the charges and was remanded to March 5 on $200 bail.
As part of his bail conditions, Nyagura was ordered not to interfere with State witnesses who include lecturers.